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Parenting: Coping when the kids stop believing in Santa Claus

By Rated PG columnist Orla Breeze

Santa is dead. Stone cold, dead-as-a-Dodo dead! He’s gone to live with the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman (whoever the hell that creepy little fella is) and all his other retired supernatural friends somewhere up in the sky. Never again shall he park his sleigh up on our roof and slide down our non-existent chimney. Never again shall he leave large snowy footprints on our floor despite the lack of snow outside. And never again shall he knock a large glass of whiskey back in one while only managing a mouthful of cookie.

Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Christmas, Believing in Santa Claus
It’s the end of an era in the Breeze household

 

At least, he won’t in our house. Wouldn’t want any poor unsuspecting child who comes across this article to think that he’s actually dead. (He’s fine kid, honestly. Nothing to see here.)

His demise within our family wasn’t completely unexpected; I mean, it had to happen sometime, but am I happy about it? No! Am I relieved that I’ll no longer have to sneak-buy his pressies then sneak-hide them somewhere my kids never find them? No! Am I happy that I’ll never see their little magic-filled faces over-excited with the promise of his arrival? No! Do I like asking myself questions then answering them immediately? Sure.

MORE: Why have we decided that only men can have it all?

But where were we? Oh yeah, in a not-so-happy place. You see, I’m a big fan of the ol’ guy; I may even be a little bit in love with him. (Shhhh, that’s a secret.) And it’s not just because of his generosity of spirit – although nobody else I know would complete an entire global trip in the space of one night simply to make children happy! I just loved the magic of someone existing in the world purely to bring joy to it. Which is probably why I held onto my own childhood connection with him until the ripe old age of 12.

Unlike my own kids. All they had to do was keep on believing for just that little longer. Or pretend to keep on believing – that would have worked too. But could they do that one little thing for their mother? The woman who bore and birthed them all? Oh no! Instead of simply staying small and innocent for a few more years, they had to go and get all grown up and move past the whole “Ho! Ho-Ho! And who do we have here then? Why don’t you come here, sit on my jolly old knee and whisper into my ear?” stage. Although I admit that sounds creepier than I intended.

But my point is; now I’m going to have to move on too. Onto a whole new stage of tweens and teens, where long evenings of drinking wine by the TV will be replaced by the new role of on-call taxi driver; where their enthusiastic excitement for life will be replaced by hormone-fuelled angst, and where their automatic acceptance of magic will morph into sarcastic scepticism. OK, so maybe that’s a little dramatic but the thing is, I’m not a fan of the kind of goodbyes that seem to be required right now. Goodbye to their wonder-filled innocence. Goodbye to the smaller version of who they were. Goodbye to the magic. Even … sniff … goodbye to Santa Claus. Well, until the grandkids come along.

Orla’s first book, Daddy 101 – The Step-by-Step Guide to Pregnancy, Birth and the First Year of Fatherhood, is available now at Amazon.

This article first appeared in the Dec/Jan edition of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe here so you don’t miss an issue!

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